Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday visited Taipei Zoo to see panda Yuan Yuan (圓圓) and her newborn cub.
Hau said that he had been in Kazan, Russia, when he heard the news that Yuan Yuan had given birth, adding that he had been overjoyed at the news.
The panda perfectly embodies Taipei’s “Good Pregnancy” drive, Hau said, adding that aside from bringing honey made from the flowers of longan trees, a favorite snack of Yuan Yuan’s, he had also brought NT$20,000 for the zoo.
The city government launched its “Good Pregnancy” program in January 2011, offering a NT$20,000 subsidy for every child born in the city, in a bid to encourage women to become pregnant.
Hau joked that Yuan Yuan had approved the use of the money for zoo staff that have worked round the clock to take care of her and her cub, adding that many of the staff had black circles around their eyes from exhaustion.
The Chinese term for describing such a state is “Panda eyes” (xiongmaoyan, 熊貓眼) due to the similarity with how a panda’s black fur encircles its eyes.
Hau said the cub was healthy and strong, and was heavier than most when born, a sign of good health, adding that it was starting to develop a panda’s customary stripes.
Hau also thanked experts from the Chinese Panda Protection research Institute who traveled to Taipei to help with the birth.
It is an exemplary example of cross-strait animal protection and conservation efforts, Hau said.
The zoo said that the cub now weighs 286.8g, 103.4g more than it did at birth.